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Britain to return crooked Macau official's stolen fortune

Britain has agreed to return £28.7 million to Macau that was confiscated from a public works chief convicted in the Chinese gambling enclave's biggest corruption case.

Macau's government said British and Macau officials signed an agreement to repatriate the money seized in the Ao Man Long case.

Transport and public works secretary Ao was found guilty in three trials in 2008, 2009 and 2012 of taking bribes and money laundering.

He is the highest ranking official to be convicted of corruption in the former Portuguese colony.

Authorities said at the time they found Ao had £65 million in assets - 57 times more than he and his family could have earned during his time in office.

The government statement said Macau had already recovered a significant part of the money that Ao stashed abroad.

Macau authorities had earlier taken out an injunction to freeze Ao's assets in Britain and requested that they be returned.

The announcement comes as Macau works to clean up its image as a corrupt gambling haven.

Casino revenues in Macau, an hour by ferry from Hong Kong, have tumbled for more than a year as Beijing's anti-corruption crackdown keeps wealthy Chinese high rollers away.

China has controlled Macau since 1999.

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